Tuesday, June 30, 2015

God's Outstanding Love Demonstrated

UV 1458/10,000 God’s Outstanding Love Demonstrated
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Matthew 27 v 46
The entire Bible is the answer to the final question Jesus asked God the Father while on the cross. Scripture is GOLD or God’s Outstanding Love Demonstrated. It was manifested in the work and words of Jesus during His walk on earth. It was demonstrated by His death on the cross and Resurrection. God had forsaken Jesus momentarily to demonstrate His love in a practical as well as intense way. Greater love has never been demonstrated before or since that event at Golgotha. God demonstrated the power of love and compassion in this single act of abandoning His beloved Son, crown prince of Heaven to the cruelties and indignities , pain and most intense anguish Jesus suffered on the cross. Jesus had voluntarily submitted to the will of the Father even though He had cried out on the rock of agony while sweating drops of blood, “ If it is possible take this cup of suffering away. Yet not my will but thine.”

The book of Revelation urges us to buy the gold that is pure or in other words to gain greater knowledge of God’s Outstanding Love Demonstrated. Jesus suffered agony for the sake of our ecstasy. It is this faith that is pure gold in the sight of the Lord. With it we have great purchasing power in the abundant economy of heaven. Jesus demonstrated the love of God in His birth, life, teachings, miracles, parables and the manner of His death and resurrection. Jesus needed to redeem us who believe by paying the price of sin- death. He made us victorious by overcoming death and by being resurrected. The self same Resurrection power is now at work in us to do that which we cannot think, ask or even imagine. The suffering, trials, tribulations and temptations we undergo in the course of our own lives are the fire that shapes the pure gold of faith in us into finished ornaments to adorn the kingdom of God.

Our strong grasp on GOLD or God’s Outstanding Love Demonstrated will enable us to be level five leaders- who are meek and yet mighty, firm yet humble, compassionate yet effective, powerful yet fearful of God. The deeper and more intense our understanding of God’s Outstanding Love, the greater the impact on our own character and lives. It is the GOLD that neither moth nor rust nor thieves can steal or destroy or denature. There is nothing we cannot do with such divine knowledge. It gives us both example and precept. God no longer forsakes us on account of the GOLD in us. He embraces us and fulfils us. He satisfies us with good things of heaven and earth. He never leaves us.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 29, 2015


UV 1457/10,000 Gracious, Loving, Original Dimensions
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Job 23 v 10

The Lord’s knowledge of our ways is awesome. He knows every word spoken by every human being. He knows the motive behind every thought. He knows all our ways. He knows our emotions. He knows our heart’s desires. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He knows our pain and passion. He knows the totality of our circumstances. He knows our background and what we have been through. He has set His eyes upon us and shaped us even before our mother or father ever saw us or knew us. He knows our future and where we are heading. Despite such complete knowledge of us, He cares deeply and loves us. He tests, trains, grooms, hones, perfects and purifies us. He does not ever give up on us. He gives us chance after chance. He coaches us. He comforts us. He watches over our coming and going, our sitting and getting up or even the innocuous or seemingly trivial movements of our lives.

He works on us as a goldsmith works on an ornament of great beauty. He applies the right degree of heat at the right time in our lives so that a certain detail or design of the ornament is perfected. He knows it is painful but He allows the pain for our eternal gain. He knows our potential. He knows the limits of our strength, patience and endurance. He searches us. He understands us. When we are broken or when we fall or feel defeated or sad, He restores us with a specific promise from His Word, a healing touch of the Specialist of Specialists. At the end of our trials, He knows we will come forth as burnished gold, finest ornament, a perfect design that will bring glory to His name.

Unlike passive gold that acquiesces and yields to all the efforts of the maker to mould it and make it a perfect ornament, we human beings tend to often question, resent and resist the painstaking efforts of our Maker to shape us. We like Job should know that whatever trial He allows us to go through, He is close at hand. Unlike the goldsmith, He steps in the fire with us. He will keep us in the fire long enough to purify us and not to destroy or melt us down completely. Instead of resisting and distancing ourselves from the Lord, if we yield we could well reduce the time we need to spend in the furnace. Unlike the trials His own Son Jesus went through on the cross, He does not ask of us to be crucified like Him. He only asks us to carry the cross or bear the suffering we go through in life with a positive and faithful attitude. We have the promise that we will emerge as finest gold-gold standing for Gracious, Original, Loving and Dimensions. Each of us has an unique testimony or story of our faith and life. Each of us is an original and not a copy or an imitation. We are irreplaceable in the sight of God. Dimensions implies in spirit, mind and body. These are the three dimensions of life. Each of these three dimensions have three dimensions for instance, mind consists of intellect, emotions and will.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fear, Shame and Honour

UV 1455/10,000 Fear, Shame and Honour
Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
Isaiah 54 v 4

The other day someone who lived in Japan for some time told me that unlike other nations, the Japanese code of ethics is not one of right and wrong but one of honour and shame. The fear of shame is one of the drivers of human nature. The World Bank President who was accused of molesting a maid who had come into his hotel room in New York had a history of such peccadillos. He had hardened his mind and deadened his conscience not to be ashamed even if he was accused of such crimes and misdemenours. Today, many leaders have lost their sense of shame. They have become insensitive and callous. Bill Clinton the US President at no point said he was ashamed in all the years since he was accused and subsequently proved of misdemeanour with the young intern Lewinsky. The wily and powerful use their connections, money and influence to wriggle out of such shameful situations. A sense of shame and honour is relegated to an outdated middle class virtue. When the sense of right and wrong is gone, the goal posts keep changing, the sense of honour and shame will be found missing. But,a sense of honour and shame is one of the built in defences and guideposts the Lord has created in us. It should never be killed or deadened. When one is young and inexperienced all of us make mistakes, some of these are secret and known only to us. But these unconfessed errors leave a long shadow of guilt and shame over the course of a whole life. But this uni-verse promises that the Lord will deliver us from our shame- past, present and future. The memories of the shame of our youth will be reduced to forgotten traces. He declares our character and integrity beyond reproach.

A former chief of the police while he was in service told me that one of his greatest desires was to retire undishonoured. The desire to be undishonoured is even greater than the desire to be honoured. This led to many Japanese generals and admirals taking their own lives as the end of the Second World War drew to an end. The fear of dishonour or shame particularly for persons in position and authority gnaws at their well being and esteem. But the Lord is a shield against this kind of fear. He assures us that we need not fear dishonour or shame. He promises us, “ You will not be put to shame.”
A widow is always more vulnerable to dishonour given her loneliness and vulnerability. But the Lord says that He is like a husband to the widow. When we hide in the Lord instead of hiding from Him, He hides our shame, the defeat, disappointment and failures of our own lives. He covers us under His wings of prayer and the Word and lifts us up in His time, whether in this lifetime or in the timeless, borderless expanses of eternity. We have no need to be confused or confounded. We will have a clear mind as we will be unburdened of the load of the past. We can walk into the light unhindered by baggage from our past. The Lord will give us clear directions and we will know exactly what we need to do in every situation in life.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Beliefs Bring Clarity

UV 1454/10000 Beliefs Bring Clarity of Thought and Vision
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
I Peter 2 v 6

All the facts are not known or knowable or provable. All the cards of life are not laid on the table. This implies that a lot of life is to be approached through belief. Beliefs are at the core of a human being. Beliefs fill the gap in our knowledge. Our beliefs influence the course of our lives. They also determine the quality of our lives. The sum of our beliefs is our faith. A belief by definition is something that cannot be proven to be true. It is an unique faculty of human beings alone. Beliefs are the critical component that shapes our attitudes, skills and perceptions. It influences our relationships, habits, decisions and actions. Beliefs if they are based on fallacies can also be misleading. Beliefs have their basis on what is contained in scripture. If we believe that God is the ultimate author of scripture, then we will believe what He says in it. Beliefs validate our lives and our lives validate beliefs. We need to examine if our beliefs are true in terms of logic, experience and history. Belief in Christ gives one a clarity of thought such that he has a sense of his priorities in life. Once we accept Jesus as the focal point of our lives, He becomes the keystone or cornerstone around which our lives are organized. We too are elect or chosen like Jesus. He is the first born of God who is the heir to the Kingdom of God. But through the spirit of adoption, we too become co-heirs with Him.

The significance of our insignificance in this vast universe is that we derive our significance from not who we are or what we are or what we do for these are insignificant in the weighing scales of eternity. But since Jesus is the cornerstone and we are the living stones being built up with Him as the foundation our significance or value is derived from whose we are. We belong to God and He belongs to us. We are precious in His sight. We do not have to strive for significance or recognition in order to discover or enhance our value. We do not have to struggle for self realization or fulfilment as we are fully filled by the Spirit of God. Beliefs enable us to endure great suffering for we begin to accept suffering as necessary though not enjoyable. For as someone wrote:
“Heated gold becomes ornament
Beaten copper becomes wires
stone becomes statue. So the
more pain you get in life you
become more valuable”

Our belief prevents us from being confounded or confused or apprehensive. We are secure in our personal knowledge of God and the great value or significance attached to everything we think, speak and do. We are no longer powerless or vulnerable. Our beliefs are the source of our significance and our power. Belief makes us feel secure. We are not guilty about our past, moody in the present or anxious about the future. Our identity, our security, our strength, our significance, our hope and joy are all rooted in Christ.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Favour of the Lord

UV 1454/10,000 The Favour of the Lord
For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD
Proverbs 8 v 35

We do not please God or obtain His favour by going through painful ordeals or by making sacrifices. The one who is good and wise finds favour with God. But the standards of goodness and wisdom that will pass muster with the Lord is absolute. Only one person has kept these standards of absolute goodness and wisdom- Jesus. Jesus has the favour of God as He is absolutely good and wise. We receive the favour of God when we believe and receive Jesus. Having believed and received Jesus into our lives and hearts, we are now to strive to reach and keep the standards of goodness and wisdom of Jesus. We need to make perfection a goal and excellence a reality. The Word clearly states that life and eternal life are in Christ. When Christ dwells in and with us by faith, we have found life. He is the precious stone, the keystone to life.

A story was told of two learned men of Greece. One became a powerful adviser to the king. The other lived a life of austerity. One day the former visited the latter and found him eating a meal of lentils and remarked, “ If only you found a way to please and flatter the king a little, you would not have to eat just a meal of lentils!” The latter immediately replied, “ If only you found a way to be content with lentils, you would not have to flatter the king.” In contrast, a man chosen by God and who choses to believe Jesus needs only to please God. What pleases the Father and Jesus is the extent of our faith. Faith in anything is proven by belief in our hearts and expression of the same with our mouths. The expression confirms the possession of faith. With our mouths we call that which has not yet happened as if it has already happened.

To enjoy the favour of the Lord is to be blessed. To enjoy the favour of the Lord is to be the recipient of all the great blessings listed in Deuteronomy chapter 28. It also means all the curses listed in the same chapter are cancelled. He redeems us from our limitations and weaknesses. It is a good exercise to increase our faith and consequently our favour with God to run through as often as possible the list of blessings and curses and to thank the Lord for each blessing and for the cancellation of each curse and bondage.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Destiny of the Elect Versus the Elite

UV 1454/10,000 The Elect Versus the Elite
For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?
Psalm 56 v 13
The Lord has delivered our souls from death through the promise of the gospel: if anyone believes in Jesus, he shall not perish but live forever. Once we know that Jesus has paid such a heavy price, don’t we realize that He will deliver us from failures and mistakes in our lives? It is God’s desire that we walk upright and in accordance with the truth revealed to our consciences and in the Word of God. We may fall due to our inherent weaknesses. But the Lord will enable us to rise and walk again. He will not disown us just because we have messed up on occasions.

Those who are delivered by the Lord are His elect. They are not the elite but the elect of God. The elite do not depend on God and remain proud and high minded. The elect humble themselves and depend on the Lord for every step they take. The elite are prepared to trade eternity for their earthly quests. The elect are prepared to trade their earthly quests for eternity. They are chosen by God and go through fire and water but the Lord promises to deliver them and bring them into a place of blessed abundance. The concept of “cursed abundance” also exists. Cursed abundance is excess in any one aspect or dimension of earthly life- the land of the dying. A person may aim to be the richest person in a country or the world but his riches will be blighted. A person may aim to be the most famous or influential person or the most powerful person but his fame, influence and power might be blighted. The Donald Trumps of this world should realize that the Lord holds the trump card in His hand. His soul may not be delivered unless he believes. If and when he falls, there is no one to catch him as he trusted in inanimate riches, fame and power. The elite does not trust in the light of the living- God Almighty. The Lord is the eternal light of the eternally living. He delivers our eyes from tears and our feet from stumbling. Can we be part of the elite and yet be the elect? Scripture shows that people of faith like Abraham, Daniel, Joseph, David, the new testament centurion- Cornelius were officially part of the ruling elite of the times but were spiritually and eternally, the elect. The willingness to trade all earthly goodies for an eternal destiny distinguished them. Their primary source of inspiration and power was the Lord and not their position, riches, gifts, beauty, influence or power though they were not deficient in these.

The principles of scripture are the even paths on which the elect walk. These paths are narrow and straight. The light of God’s Word goes ahead illuminating each step the elect take. The paths lead up to the land of the eternally living. How one ends a quest or a journey determines the success of the quest or journey. The rivers and tributaries may meander but they end up in the ocean. Similarly, our paths may seem to wander but as long as we end up in the Lord, reach our divine destination, we have fulfilled the purpose of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Continuous Dialogue with God

UV 1453/10000 Continuous Dialogue with God
In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
Psalm 56 v 4
We trust people who are consistent, who keep their word, who can be relied upon, who are faithful and come to our help in our time of need as we would in theirs. We can depend on them to keep a confidence. Similarly, we trust God on account of His character, His dependability in all circumstances. He does not change with the times or go back on His promises to us. He is not only trustworthy, He is also omnicompetent. He can do all things. The difficult and the impossible are within the realm of ease and possibility. His heart, His word and His hands match. When we praise the Word, God is glorified and thrilled. He is satisfied and gratified by His creation’s response. He will not regret having created us. He will not regret having sent His Son as a sacrifice for us. David wrote that He values His Word more than the greatness of His own name. He sets greatest store by fulfilling His Word in all its details. Indeed, God and not the devil is in the details.

Faith or trust in God enables us to overcome every fear. We no longer fear what man can do to us. At worst they can only kill. But it is God who preserves our lives. He protects us in 360 degrees over 24x7x365 days. The stronger our trust in God, the greater our security. The more we know of His Word and understand it as well as apply it in practical ways, the more we tend to lean on Him and trust Him. His Word is multi-purpose. It is a buckler and a shield, a weapon of attack as well as defence. It is the Word in us that makes us more than a conqueror. It helps us conquer our own inner mind and spirit, to make it subject to the Lord. The Word is a versatile weapon. But it needs to be always at hand. It will not act as either a double edged sword or a shield unless it is firmly grasped in our spiritual hands. It cannot be just placed for display on our walls or our tables. It has to be the operative Word, not the dormant.

Daniel Goleman who wrote the best selling book “Emotional Intelligence” said that EQ or emotional quotient requires people to have a constant inner dialogue with themselves. The Word in contrast enables us to have a constant inner dialogue with the Lord Himself. It is the bridge and the language of communication that connects the divine with the human soul. In this dialogue, the Lord tells us “ I Am is with you. Whom shall you fear? Is there anything or anyone greater, more powerful and more loving and gracious than Me?” Among the many fears that prey upon our vulnerable minds is the fear of death. But as we pray to the Lord, as we trust in Him, every fear including the fear of death will flee. As a child I used to say, “ What is the worst thing that can happen? I will die.” After tasting near death twice and after trusting in the Lord as a youth, I now only say to myself, “ No one can touch me without the Lord’s knowledge and permission. What or whom shall I fear?”

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Beauty,Grace and Success

UV 1452/10,000 Beauty, Grace and Success
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Psalm 90 v 17

Some translations put the first part of this uni-verse as “May the favour of the Lord rest upon us…” Indeed, grace or the favour of the Lord is truly beautiful. It beatifies us. It beautifies us. Scripture says that when we find favour in the eyes of the Lord, His beautiful face shines on us, our whole being and its several parts. We begin to see with the eyes of God, to smell with the nostrils of the Lord, to think with the mind of Christ, to feel with the heart of God, to do with the hands of the Lord. We operate with the might of the grace of God and the grace of the might of God.

The word “establish” implies to enable to succeed, to prosper or advance. The Lord God is the first cause, the continuing cause and the last cause of our success in all that we do. He is the first and the last. He causes the work of our hands to endure, to last beyond their natural longevity. Unlike the constant refrain of the negative experimenter King Solomon who experimented with all that does not last, does not have the favour of God, with wealth, wine, women and worldly wisdom and found that it is all in vain- a mere chasing of the wind, we can say, “ It is gain, it is all gain in the Lord.”

Our focus is not the work of our hands or the gain we get thereby but the favour or grace of the Lord. He will cause our work to succeed, the fruits to last, the legacy to outlast our lives.
Our motive is not to establish our own claims to greatness but to establish the greatness or glory of the Lord. Its practical implication is that we should seek to establish the fact of the beauty, splendour and greatness of the Lord in our practical lives, our homes, our workplaces, our careers and our professions. The Lord will marshal our natural strengths and grant us spiritual strength to overcome our inherent weaknesses and limitations. The “hamartia” or the falling short of our objectives, goals, targets both in a quantitative and a qualitative measure is replaced by the phenomenon of abundance or “hyperbole” or doing better than intended or aimed for in all domains or areas of life. We live and work realizing that except the Lord build our lives, we labour in vain. When the Lord builds our lives, He does it beautifully and we labour for gain- gain that neither moth, nor rust nor thief can rob. In other words, neither natural forces and factors of decay nor human wiles or guile can stop us from advancing, progressing, building, succeeding and finishing.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 22, 2015

Help to Transcend and Overcome

UV 1451/10000 Help to Transcend and Overcome
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Hebrews 13 v 6

When we believe the Lord, relate to Him and intake His Word on a daily basis, we can deal with all our human fears most effectively. Faith is a shield primarily against all types of fears. When we pray, the fears that prey on our minds will cease. The wings of prayer and the Word can act as a refuge when we are under the cover of these wings. The same wings act as a prop to carry us forward and up. The wings stretch through history and all of eternity. It covers every conceivable situation we go through. On the basis of the confidence we have in God’s power and the trust we have in His character of faithfulness to His Word, each day and in every situation we can affirm, “ The Lord is my helper.”

The name of the Lord is Ebenezer. This is the reason the Psalmist writes, “My help is in the name of the Lord.” He is not a mute spectator of our lives but is constantly searching for ways to help us and bless us. He helps us in our hour of need. He sends support, succour and Saviour our way. Salvation is not something we receive at the end of our lives for having lived a life of faith but it is the help we receive constantly and continuously. We need not fear want. We need not fear violence. David wrote the psalm stating that “even if an army encamps against him, he would not fear.” We need not fear the machinations of the evil one. He is greater, infinitely more powerful than he is. We need not fear when we pass through the valley of the shadow of death. We need not fear death or judgement. We need not fear the high and mighty. We need not fear failure and can boldly pursue or await the fulfilment of the dreams He places in our hearts. Joseph knew even when his brothers conspired to kill him and then put him in a pit that deliverance would come from the Lord. His God-sent dreams would not die during his lifetime. The scripture that declares “Our help comes from the Maker of Heaven and Earth” implies that we get supernatural as well as natural help. The Lord being the Maker and master of the earth commanded a raven to bring food to the famished prophet Elijah. He caused a fish to bring a gold coin to pay Jesus and the apostles’ tax due. He caused the widow’s oil to overflow. He provided water to the Israelites from the rock and manna from heaven. He can source our help from the human or the natural or outsource it to heaven. We find a fine blend or balance of the natural and the supernatural, the human and the divine, the earthly and the heavenly playing out for our help and enablement.

The Lord is our strength. He gives us the inner strength- the ability to endure with patience and hope all our troubles. He restores us when we fall, fail or decline in any aspect of our lives. The inner peace bubbles up in our souls like a deep spring. It refreshes us and renews us. It enables us to soar above our earthly circumstances. A man or woman of faith always lives a few steps above the level of his or her circumstances. Our faith enables us to transcend and overcome. The divine or supernatural help we obtain by faith to transcend and overcome is called grace. The Holy Spirit is also called the Helper. He helps us feel the presence and the comfort of the Lord. He also helps us by reminding us of the promises of the Lord. In our human lives, we remind each other of the promises made by the other but the promise-giver Himself reminds us through the whispers of the Holy Spirit. He also helps us with wise counsel, prophetic guidance and setting up guide posts in our decision- making.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Patterns of Living

UV 1450/10,000 Patterns of Living

In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.

Haggai 2 v 23

At the appointed hour in human history God took the descendant of David or a Zerubbabel and chose Him to be the Messiah. The Messiah Jesus was a natural descendant of King David though He is spiritually the Son and only Son of God. Just as Zerubbabel played a key role in laying the foundation of the temple of God in Jerusalem during the Babylonian captivity, Jesus lays the foundation of our faith lives. He offers Himself as the cornerstone of grace. He builds the walls and sees us through to completion. Every single thing we think, speak or do is either laying a brick or demolishing a brick in the house of our future, our eternal home and the temple of God. Zerubbabel was a governor of those times. Each of us likewise is a governor first of our own lives and the gifts, resources and responsibilities the Lord has entrusted to us to manage and be good stewards of. Each of us is chosen of God. We are chosen for a reason and for a purpose. Our chosenness makes us not part of the elite of the world but the elect of God like Zerubbabel. The spirit of God is upon us even as He was upon Jesus during His earthly sojourn. We are not only chosen, we are anointed. We are not only anointed, we are empowered. We are not only empowered but we are equipped and enabled by grace.

God gave the signet ring of authority to Jesus to organize or ordain the affairs of state of the Kingdom of God. Everything we do has a certain pattern following the acronym BASK or a composite of Belief, Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge. A pattern essentially has several components or elements woven into it. These elements blend into each other and the warp and woof of life. Bezalel, the craftsman whom God chose through Moses to adorn the tabernacle of the Lord wove certain skillful patterns into the design and layout of the temple. We need to have an eating pattern, a consumption pattern, a giving pattern, an exercise pattern, a communication pattern, a worship pattern, a work pattern, a fellowship pattern, a thought pattern, an emotions pattern that pleases the Lord. For instance, our communication pattern should be such that it builds up faith –faith in oneself, faith in others and faith in the Triune God. Anything that is out of tune with this objective will stand out like a discordant note played in an orchestra. Our eating or consumption pattern should have an element of thanksgiving to the Lord, an element of sharing, an element of enjoyment and an element of self control. If there is an element of gluttony or greed, it militates against the spirit of the Lord. Our exercise pattern should be marked by regularity, discipline, caution to avoid excesses as well as too little of it.

Our worship pattern should be marked by complete surrender, rejoicing in the spirit, intake of the Word to increase our knowledge of the Lord, thanksgiving, adoration, silence, continual prayer and purity of thoughts, motives and life. Our thought pattern needs to be positive, holistic, wholesome, practical and creative. It should equally reinforce our positive thoughts and negate our negative ones. We should take every thought captive to the Word. Our emotional pattern should be balanced, joyful, stable, strong. Our work pattern should have elements of discipline, determination, creativity, cost effectiveness, diligence and going the extra mile. Our investment pattern should be a composite of shrewdness, knowledge, forethought. Our giving pattern should be marked by regularity, generosity, diligence . There should be a connecting thread of faith, wisdom and grace running through all the patterns of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Implications of the Covenant

UV 1479/10,000 Implications of The Covenant

As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

Isaiah 59 v 21

The Lord is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The words He spoke to Abraham were transmitted to Isaac and from Isaac to Jacob. He poured His spirit upon three generations such that they remained faithful to the covenant God made with them. He willed it that His Word would remain as spiritual seed to generate faith, hope and love in succeeding generations. His Word develops deep roots in our hearts and grows out of our mouths. The words we speak or the expression of our faith in God are the primary means through which we are blessed and we bless others.

A covenant is a sacred pact, an inviolable agreement between God and man. Only when God forgives our sins can we qualify to enter into a covenant with Him. We become eligible only by the mercy of the Lord. When we enter into a personal relationship with God of our own free will and in full belief, we are entering into a covenant relationship with God. Any agreement has to be sealed permanently as a mark of having been agreed between two parties. Similarly, God seals our bodies with the Holy Spirit at the time we make our first commitment of our hearts and lives to Him. The words the Holy Spirit plants in our hearts become rivers of life-giving water in our lives. In other words, these are the sources of blessings for generations and forever. Faith transforms our fate and that of our successors.

Every agreement has an expiry date. But a covenant with the Lord lasts forever. The only thing resembling a covenant on earth is the marriage covenant. It lasts until either partner dies. The covenant becomes operational the moment one receives Jesus as Saviour and Lord. The benefits of the covenant are salvation, blessings here on earth and for the life hereafter, blessings on one’s generations. It is entered into on a personal basis by each individual. There are 10,000 blessings or promises built into the covenant with God. The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell with us, to sanctify us, to equip and empower us. The Spirit clothes us or covers us. The covenant does not allow us to break our lives into different compartments, some meant for God and some meant for the world and us. The covenant is wholesome and holistic. It affects every aspect of our lives. It gives us an eternal perspective and transforms our world-view. We leave a testimony and an inheritance of spiritual blessings to our generations that last forever. The covenant once made never needs to be done again but it is to be renewed every day of our lives. The covenant enjoins mutual obligations, commitments, privileges and costs. The cost from God’s side has already been met with the blood of Jesus. We need to fulfill our obligations and commitment as laid upon our hearts by the Spirit.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Key of Knowledge

UV 1478/10000 The Key of Knowledge

Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Luke 11 v 52

Knowledge is the leader’s edge or advantage. The key of knowledge is the most vital thing in the universe that we should learn. But there are different kinds of knowledge- the knowledge of self, the knowledge of the world, the knowledge of the Word. But which type of knowledge is wholesome and good. Socrates taught that the key of knowledge is to know oneself. He said that it is the essence of knowledge. No doubt self-knowledge or awareness is important: to know what are one’s strengths and weaknesses, to know what are one’s needs, resources, abilities, goals, desires, threats and opportunities. But more vital than these is the personal knowledge of God- a personal relationship with the Father in heaven through His Son Jesus. This is also called the key of David for David had a personal knowledge of God. He talked and sang to God. He walked with Him. He listened to the Lord and heard from Him. This enabled him to discover his own inner faults, his secret sins, his wilful errors, his hidden weaknesses that no other man could point out to him. It enabled him to confess these faults, to stay humble and right in heart with God despite great personal moral failures.

Religious people who have a lot of theological or theoretical knowledge of God do not move to the level of personal relationship with the Lord. They also place obstacles in the way of those who want to know God personally. They are content with the outer form without the inner power. They are limited to the observance of customs and traditions to please people. Such knowledge does not lead to salvation or hope. It weighs them down with guilt and fear. A personal relationship with God is as a man relates to his family and friends. It involves mutual disclosure and confidence. It is the key to wisdom and understanding. It is the key to love and power.

A personal and intimate relationship of God is key to enjoying all the blessings listed in Deuteronomy chapter 28 and in avoiding all the curses listed therein. It is the key to developing an eternal vision and fulfilling the will of God. It is key to finding our identity as well as finding and fulfilling our purpose in life. It is more important to be blessed than to be successful. It is called the key of knowledge as it is key to appropriating the blessings and promises of the Lord. It is key to overcoming and being victorious in life. It is key to ending loneliness. When one knows God as a best friend, he will never experience either loneliness or boredom. It is the key to freedom and salvation. Such a key will enable us to open doors as well as to lock certain other doors.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Casting Out Every Fear

UV 1447/10,000 Casting Out Every Fear

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

I John 4 v 18

The anatomy of love is such that there is no scope for fear in perfect love. The fact that many of us entertain deep seated fears about life, death, God, sin, judgement goes to show that our love is not yet perfect. Francis Bacon wrote that “men fear death as children fear to go in the dark.” It is the fear of the unknown and the fear of what is lurking in the unknown. Complex and elaborate human strategies at overcoming fear does not often work as the root or source is spiritual and requires the “Manufacturer’s” expertise to diagnose and cure.

Edgar Wallace wrote: “Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake” Fear is debilitating and paralyses us, prevents us from realizing our potential in God. Some of the fears may be imaginary and some based on an actual threat perception. Mankind is afflicted by as many as 400 common fear related mental disorders or phobias. One such phobia that is universal and affects everyone is atelophobia- the fear of not being good enough or perfect. God is perfect and this is the reason Adam and Eve hid themselves in fear when they lost their blissful innocence, having disbelieved God’s word and disobeyed Him. Today, as we believe in God’s Word that came in flesh and blood as His Son Jesus and His Word that is available with us in letter and spirit and as we obey, we are liberated from the chains of fear. We are restored to perfection by grace and perfect love. Hence, all fear is cast out of us. Fear cannot rule us. We rule not by fear but by love. The process of healing or transformation of our lives is summed up thus: The Word process impacts our Thought Process and our Thought Process affects our Life Process.

As we grow in our personal knowledge of the love of God or “agape”, our selfish love that is love mixed with a lot of insecurities or fear is replaced by a God-like love. We can cast our fears out of us and cast our worrisome burdens or anxieties at His able feet. There is a specific Word that will heal us of each of our insecurities or fears. We need to do “ word processing “ or read that specific Word, learn it, understand it, assimilate it through meditation, claim it, apply it and it will heal that particular fear even as we confess it to the Lord and seek His grace or help to overcome. For instance, the fear of failure or atychiphobia can be cured permanently by “Word processing” as explained above. The specific Word to be learnt, meditated upon, prayer over, claimed and applies is Psalm 1 v 3 which states: He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, whose leaves do not dry, who bears fruit in season and out of season. He succeeds in everything He does.” In short, he succeeds even in failure. A winning attitude is sown. It casts down roots, casts out fear of failure, grows and bears fruits of blessing. With a winning attitude, one never fails. If one wins, he wins. If he loses, he learns. Now how to deal with the fear of premature death. Yes, all of us will one day die physically though those who believe God’s Word will live eternally thereafter. But I have come across even believers who are afflicted by a fear of premature death. The specific word is in Psalm 91 v 16 : “ With long life will I satisfy him and after that show him my salvation.” Likewise, every single fear can be cast out and in its place give room for faith, courage, hope and joy everlasting.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Distinction between Grace and Glory

UV 1446/10,000 Grace and Glory

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Psalm 84 v 11

This uni-verse describes in a nutshell a kind of spiritual ecology. The Lord God gives us grace to bear or to face up and overcome the common challenges facing the human race: sin, disease, conflict and other limiting factors. Grace is the God-given ability to endure our present troubles. Glory is like the reward a runner receives at the end of the race. Instead of recognition by fellow human beings, glory implies recognition by the Lord of a life of faith. The Lord is like the glorious sun that radiates heat and energy into our lives. At the same time, He is the umbrella that shields us from excessive power and heat. As plants stretch out their leaves to soak in sunshine all day long, so we must stretch out the different aspects of our lives to receive grace and glory. We participate in what I call “protosynthesis”. Our growth needs grace and our fruit brings glory. Grace is a need while glory is a result. We yield to God and He shields us. We resist the enemy and he flees. Grace is defensive while glory is victorious. Grace is upholding us while glory uplifts us.

The good that the Lord releases into our lives are summed up in the words: faith, hope and love. Faith, hope and love are of the essence of eternal life. Faith is a quality associated with God, the Father, hope with the Holy Spirit and love with Jesus. The other fruit that are connected to love are goodness, humility, gentleness, peace and patience. Patience is called the prince of virtues as it is a trait common to the realization and exercise of faith, hope and love. The spiritual fruit of self control is associated with the Holy Spirit since scripture says that the spirit that we are given is not one of fear but of love, power and self control. These are the truly good things that the Lord releases into our lives.

It is not as if we have no responsibility for the uni-verse says that the Lord expects us to walk uprightly. We should earnestly desire to be upright and also endeavour to do our best to live uprightly. The Lord will add His grace to fill the gaps in our character and our practice of our faith. The word “good things” apart from the things God esteems- faith, hope and love, also implies the 10,000 blessings the Lord has ordained or arranged for us in the course of our days. Anything “good” in our lives is authored by God. The word good means “of God.” What is good is of God and what is of God is good.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Life Processing:KN-SS-DD-MW

UV 1445/10,000 Life Processing:KN,SS,DD,MW
In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

Ecclesiastes 11 v 6

We need to sow a seed to meet a need. The process that operates in human life is: know the need, sow the seed, do the deed, mow the weed. In code language, it is KN,SS,DD,MW. The problem predicts the solution. Depending on what our need is at any point in time, we should sow a seed in that area of need. A decision and a determination, a goal and a plan are examples of such seed. Faith, love and hope like money does not grow on trees but it does grow like a tree: first sow a seed, water it, nurture it, love it, care for it, fence it, uproot the weeds, prepare for harvest, enjoy it, consume it to meet your need, share it to meet another’s need. When we pray with a promise of the Lord, we are sowing a seed in the very heart of God. He will help us nurture and grow that seed. He will cause it to prosper. A lot of things in our circumstances are beyond our control- the weather, the rain, the extent of sunshine, the pests. But faith equips us to be proactive in managing our lives. Hope for good weather but plan for bad weather. Take measures to remove the weeds and to keep the pests away. Develop good perimeter fencing to keep the little foxes out. Resort to fencing prayer. Dig the stakes of God’s promises deep into our hearts, minds, spirits and souls. Indeed, prayer is of different types: protective prayer, persistent prayer, defensive prayer, prayer in the thick of battle, fervent prayer, sowing prayer, growing prayer, harvesting prayer.

We have needs in the area of our health, finances, children, future, family, friends, relationships, our vision and mission in life, our walk with God. To sow something as tiny as a seed when our need is yawning and huge is an act of faith. It requires a vision to see that seed growing through many days and weeks, months and years to yield that which can satisfy our need. It requires the patience of a farmer. After sowing the seed, we need to do the deeds that are required for watering, caring, fencing and de-weeding. De-weeding and pruning are the processes of subjecting ourselves and our work to the discipline of the Lord, to introspect and change for the better.

In order to sow, one needs to save from our existing stock of grain. As investment advisers now tell us, we must not consume and then save what is left but first save and then consume the rest. The uni-verse contains a piece of sound and pragmatic financial wisdom: sowing in the morning is our major source of income. But we must also plan a second source of revenue. Sowing is associated in scripture with tears, growing with sweat and reaping with laughter and joy. We need to sow abundantly, generously and unstintingly. We need to de-weed firmly and carefully so as not to pull out the good ones along with the tares. We need to sow when the sun is up or when the circumstances are favourable as well as when the sun is down-when the circumstances are not exactly favourable. We need to sow in righteousness and we will reap in blessing. If we sow in the spirit by prayer, studying the Word and applying it, we will reap in the spirit. If we sow in the flesh by pleasing our own whims and desires, we reap in the flesh. The Lord delights in multiplying our seed and increasing the fruit of righteousness in our lives. The end result of our lives are not known to us. Trust God for the end result – whether we are successful from His perspective or not. Just as a mango tree cannot gloat on its fruit harvest in a particular year or be depressed in another at the sparseness, it is not for us to decide whether we have been successful or not. Leave it to the landlord or rather, soul-Lord who knows the kind and cost of inputs He gave as well as the output or outcome He expected.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 15, 2015

Perfect Balance

UV 1444/10,000 Perfect Balance
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46 v 10
Just reflect on everything in the universe. Everything - the sun, moon, stars, planets and earth are all moving constantly without stopping ever. Yet everything appears not to move , to be perfectly still. The different parts of the universe are held in perfect harmony and balance. This is equilibrium - apparent stillness every moment despite constant movement. Look at our own bodies and minds. There is so much happening within each of our bodies and minds all the time. Yet it appears to be motionless and still on the outside. . Equilibrium is stillness despite movement. God has created everything to be in equilibrium. To be calm despite causes for anger, anxiety or stress, to be gentle despite causes to be harsh and to raise one’s voice, to be joyful despite causes of deep pain, sadness and sorrow, to be courageous despite sources of fear, to achieve despite deficiencies and challenges, to serve despite signs of all round selfishness, to believe in God and goodness despite apparent symptoms to the contrary, to be positive despite causes and sources of negativity: this is equilibrium or dynamic stillness. When we are anchored in the hope of Jesus, we can be still like this in our personal knowledge of God.

To be still and rested we need to trust God as our refuge. Our primary source of confidence in our lives is the Lord and not money, position, power, talents, fame, connections, family or friends. He is mighty and holds the whole vast universe with its vast and powerful forces in equilibrium. How much more would he hold our tiny world in equilibrium? Jesus is the wall of Hezekiah to whom we turn every day and for every need in every situation. No storm can rock our boat when Jesus is in it with us. Nothing is too tiny for Him to perceive or too big for Him to handle. Trusting God in every aspect of life is stillness. We are freed from the chains of fear, anxiety, hopelessness, vanity, pride and guilt. We are free now to be calm, joyful, secure, confident, hopeful, loving and peaceful. We are empowered and enabled to attain our potential in God- to live as His image or reflections of God on earth. We mirror God in our lives and so exalt Him in all the earth. We are freed from the need to take revenge and to forgive 24 x7, 70 x 7 as Jesus asked us to. In allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us from within we glorify God, in consistency we exalt Him.

When we know who God is and are in awe of the extent of His greatness and goodness, we no longer have the natural desire that we had in the past to exalt ourselves. As we increase in our knowledge of God, our trust will grow, our joy, peace and hope will grow. We will humble ourselves before Him and exalt the Lord. We will give up our frenetic efforts at self aggrandisement and trust God for our needs. Our egos are replaced by e-God or exalt-God. He becomes our habitation. We breathe, live, move and exist in Him. So though we are always moving and are moved, we will have a deep inner stillness where we feel the reassuring presence of the Lord. He balances the different parts of our lives however contradictory in perfect harmony.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 14, 2015

As He was With............

UV 1443/10,000 As He Was With………
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee
Joshua 1 v 5

God is not a respecter of persons, implying that He is not partial to anyone. He is not afraid of anyone. He measures our faithfulness. He is able to measure all our subjective qualities. As long as we are faithful as Moses or Joshua, He will be faithful to us. He will never fail us nor forsake us. He will not let us down or disappoint our hope. No force on earth could subdue Moses or Joshua. Amazing manifestations of God’s power were triggered by what they said and spoke. Supernatural signs and wonders accompanied their words. No man however high and mighty like Pharaoh could resist them or overpower them.

We do not truly know God till we obey His word and believe His promises. When we do so, He will be with us as He was with Moses. His presence will accompany us wherever we go and will distinguish us. He will send people to counsel us as He sent Jethro to teach Moses the principles of delegation and organisation. He will do mighty miracles for us and through us. He will redeem us from great dangers. He will be with us through all types of calamities. He will ensure we reach our divine destination- the promised forever land. He will stick with us closer than a closest friend or family member.

The Lord will be with us as He was with Joshua. He enabled Joshua to be an effective leader and to step into the shoes of Moses. He enabled them to cross the Jordan. He gave victories against 31 kings. He will be with us as He was with Elijah. He will honour our prayers and accept our sacrifices. He will feed us and protect us. He will not let our words fall to the ground. He will be with us as He was with Peter. He will turn our weaknesses into strengths. He will be with us as He was with John and Paul. He will use us mightily. He will be with us as He was with David. He will enable us to slay our Goliaths. He will give us courage, strength and wisdom. The testimonies of faith of the past become the basis of our experiences in our lives. According to the challenge we are facing, we can pray, “ Lord be with me today as you were with David”, if we are up against a formidable adversary like Goliath. “Lord, be with me as you were with the widow whose jar of oil overflowed to meet all her need,” if we are in financial need. “Lord, be with me as you were with the woman who suffered from chronic bleeding and got your touch of healing”, if we need healing of spirit, mind or body. Every day with Jesus is an adventure, an exploration, a discovery of who God is. Indeed, faith has no frills but many thrills. We need to examine how has the Lord been with us hitherto. He has been with me as a Redeemer, a deliverer, a healer, a teacher, a comforter, a counsellor, a provider, an uplifter, a source of strength, a guide, a mighty warrior, an inspirer, a multiplier, a dream fulfiller, a visionary.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Components of Holistic Excellence

UV 1442/10,000 Components of Holistic Excellence
And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
I Chronicles 28 v 20

Fear and disappointment are a source of weakness. Fear as someone rightly said can mean “forget everything and run” or “forget everything and rise” as well as “forget everything and rejoice.” David was asking the young Solomon to forget everything and rise as well as rejoice. David exhorted his son Solomon to be strong, physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. David had developed his physical strength and some of his skills as a worshipper and a fighter even while he tended his father’s sheep. His courage was outstanding. Our strength increases proportionate to our courage and faith and diminishes proportionately with fear, worry and regret. David confronted his fears head on like when he took on and got the better of a lion, a bear and the biggest challenge, the giant Goliath. Belief can indeed turn an ant into the equivalent of a giant. But even the best of men is a mixture of strength and weakness. None of us is absolutely strong. Our strength is a mixture of strength and weakness. Only the Lord God is absolutely holy, absolutely loving, absolutely just, absolutely merciful, absolutely perfect. Even a courageous person has traces of fear just as no man breathes in pure air but oxygen moderated by carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The mixture of air slows down the burn rate. Perfection for the human being is more of strength and less of weakness. God fills the weakness or gap areas of our lives with His grace through our faith.

Every father desires that his children enjoy H2W2 or health, happiness, wealth and wisdom. David was encouraging his son to develop and maintain winning attitudes for with winning attitudes, if one wins, he wins. If he loses, he learns. In order to develop such winning attitudes, belief not just in the existence of God but His absolute goodness, absolute faithfulness and absolute strength are necessary and fundamental prelude. He encourages Solomon to adopt three beliefs that stood him in good stead in the vicissitudes of his own life and career: God is with us as Immanuel and Ebenezer or helper. He will not fail us. He will not leave us, forsake us or give up on us. He will help us finish well. David knew well that a habit of excellence includes four components: Belief, Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge or H=BASK. Whatever are the defects or deficiencies in our beliefs, attitudes, skills and knowledge, the Lord in His faithfulness and goodness will supply or rectify. We should root out disbelief and negative beliefs, root in positive beliefs, shoot up and fruit out.

We need to focus or concentrate our attention, our energy and our efforts. Whatever we do or attempt, we should do it in the service of the house of God. Everything we do is an act of worship and acknowledgement of the greatness of God. The templates that David gave Solomon for the building of the temple of God are a symbolic pattern for our lives and leadership. The pattern for the living temples that we build on the base of our own bodies should emulate the pattern of BASK. Our habits should ingrain in us beliefs that are excellent, attitudes that are excellent, excellent skills and excellent knowledge. An excellent spirit should inhabit us as it indwelled Daniel.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Wise Seek God

UV 1441/10,000 The Wise Seek God
God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God
Psalm 53 v 2

Leaving God out of thinking and writing about life and leadership is like the body without eyesight, the lungs without oxygen and the arteries without blood. Indeed, seeking God is the very sign of wisdom. The wise are defined by their persistence in seeking God who is the infinite source of wisdom. He is the fountainhead of H2W2 or our holistic health of spirit, mind and body, our holistic happiness of spirit, mind and body, our holistic wealth of spirit, mind and body and our holistic wisdom of spirit, mind and body. He hides Himself from our physical eyes but reveals Himself to our inner and spiritual eyes. He is too distant to be touched with our physical senses but He is closer than our own skin. He is involved in the process of helping us understand who He is.

In the Old Testament, God revealed Himself as I AM WHO I AM. In the New Testament through the word of Jesus, He revealed Himself as the Way, the truth and the Life, the good Shepherd, the True Vine, the Door, the loving and forgiving Father, the King of Kings, the Messiah, the Talent giver, the Bridegroom. Understanding the identity of God is key to our understanding of our own identity, of who we really are. It is the key to wisdom. We begin to understand everything from a God-like perspective.

Scripture says that if any human being searches for God with all his or her hearts, he or she shall surely find Him. God should be our first love or our highest passion, our greatest desire. First love does not mean the kind of love with which we related to God at first but consistently making God our highest priority and passion. All our other desires are either consumed or subsumed( realized) in finding Him. God is not limited by our strength, understanding, ability or resources. He can vastly expand each of these aspects of our lives. He can expand our wisdom in order to enable us to understand Him and comprehend His ways. Imagine H2W2 as a baby enclosed in the womb of our understanding of God. Whenever, there is a need or deficiency in our health or happiness or wealth or wisdom, the womb will supply that need. Our understanding of God is like an umbilical cord. It connects us with God and supplies whatever we need. The wise seek God for in finding God they find the source of their blessing, the fount of their ceaseless joy. Like Abel and the three wise men who visited the new born Jesus, the wise will come to the presence of God with their best selves, their best gifts. Using and giving the best of our gifts is the highest honour we can do God.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Leaders as Spiritual Watchmen for the Nations

UV 1440/10,000 Leaders as Spiritual Watchmen for the Nations
I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
Habakuk 2 v 1

The uni-verse de-romanticises the role of leadership. No great titles or high sounding epithets. We are just watchmen. The Lord has appointed us as watchmen for our respective nations and organisations. A leader is a watchman for the Lord. He watches happenings in this world and reports it faithfully to the Lord and He takes the message from the Lord and communicates it to the world. We are to watch all day and all night. We are expected to be vigilant and alert. We are to take a stand on virtually every aspect of life and be a witness in every area or domain of life. We are to examine and analyse the trends and reach a conclusion of what is the Lord’s will. We are to watch out for the souls of the people we are leading as a shepherd is concerned for his sheep. We are to be sensitive to what the Lord is speaking into our lives and be attentive to His Word. We are the Chief Spiritual Officers of our organisations and nations. Each of us has a specific jurisdiction or area to watch over. The Lord gives us the tools of the watchman- the flashlight of the Holy Spirit to search scripture and discover life-saving and life-enhancing truths, the cane or stick of authority, the whistle to raise the alarm and call the angels to our help, a notebook in which to record our observations, thoughts and feelings. Our lives are divided into different watch hours of the night. Our hope and joy increases as the dawn draws near and we are about to be called to make our final report before the Lord.

As spiritual watchmen we are responsible for the inner security and sense of well being of people. We must watch out for the attacks of the roaring lion and warn people of these risks and dangers. As watchmen, we are not to leave our posts or abdicate our responsibilities. We should be faithful and diligent. We ward off attacks by mounting the prayer tower and spending time in prayer. Prayer gives us strategic height to have a commanding view of what lies ahead of us, the nation and the world. Jesus described satan as a thief, robber and killer. As watchmen, our role is to reduce the extent of his thieving, robbery and killing. We can through our active prayer life and intercession focus on pre-empting him from stealing and robbing lives, peace, health, eternity from people. We can prevent him from killing the faith and souls of people.

A watchman should have a keen sense of vision. What he sees and hears, he needs to accurately and promptly report to the Lord. It is the Lord who acts on our prayer reports. Spiritual watchmen unlike the watchmen of the world report the positive and the praiseworthy. They send up prayer reports as well as praise reports. At times when the Lord is about to reproach or rebuke or punish, the watchman stands in the gap and intercedes for people. Abraham was a watchman for the world during his lifetime. He pleaded for lives of people living nearby. Moses was a watchman for Israel.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Process of Protosynthesis

UV 1439/10,000 The Process of Protosynthesis

Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Isaiah 55 v 13

We can change certain things on the outside but it is God alone who can transform us from deep within. Most humans end up like a prickly thorn, hurt and hurting others. But once we believe, trust and obey Him, we become like a fir tree- strong, tall and graceful. We will not be shapeless like a thorn bush but God’s fire of passion will alight upon us and light us up without consuming us like it happened to the burning bush at Mount Sinai. Of course, money does not grow on trees. But money, power, fame, faith, life grows like trees. Get the seed, plant it, water it, nourish it , nurture it, love it, fence it, harvest it, consume it, share it, enjoy it, transplant it, multiply it. Get the seed, plant it.... If we plant the trees of money, power, fame, these trees will seem initially like a fir tree, strong, tall and stable but these only flatter to deceive. These trees will one day be cut down and cast into fire. Instead, if we plant the seed of faith, the gospel, it will grow like a mighty cedar on the mountain side. It will grow in the soil and slopes provided by our own problems, challenges, difficulties and weaknesses.

If we plant the seed of faith, our lives become the responsibility of the Lord. He will water us and provide us the nutrients, the shelter from storms. He will provide His Sonlight that we can absorb to trigger a process of creativity of the highest order or “proto-synthesis” just like plants take in sunlight during photosynthesis. The byproduct of this process is the oxygen of hope that we emit as we exist, move and live in Him. He will fence and protect us. Our lives and life experiences, both good and bad will be testimony or evidence of the goodness of the Lord. He will rejoice as we grow stronger and taller and fulfil our potential to be Christ-like. Instead of being an ugly thorn tree that we started out life as, we will become in the end like a beautiful myrtle tree. Our leaves or our words will be used for the healing of nations and our fruit or the lasting qualities of head and heart imparted to us by the Spirit of God will nourish others in hope and strength.

Last week as I was participating in a book release, I read a quote of the great realist thinker Chanakya, “ Don’t be too honest for the straight trees are cut first.” He seemed apprehensive at the great risks of being too honest or straight in an imperfect and dishonest world. He does not say however how honest one should get in order to avoid being cut down. In contrast, this uni-verse encourages us to be more and more righteous till we attain the very righteousness of Christ. It promises that we will be an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. He will give us the wisdom, the grace and the protection to secure us in our human vulnerabilities. The process of leadership may be summed up: plant a seed, nurture it, grow it, develop strength, get rid of inherent weaknesses, develop various branches and bear a variety of fruit. Each month we should dedicate it to a new habit or venture or quest so that we will be like the fruit trees described in God’s great garden that produce a different fruit every month of the year.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Grace of Leadership

UV 1438/10,000 The Grace of Leadership
And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:

Deuteronomy 28 v13

It is the destiny of the followers of Jesus to be influential leaders. The mantle of godly leadership falls on those who listen carefully to the commandments of God, diligently study these and apply it in every area and domain of life. The word “hear” in this context expands to mean “hear, enjoy, apply, rejoice”. Most believers are good at supplication but not at application. It is application that shows the extent of our faithfulness. We do not have to fight to achieve leadership positions but the Lord will orchestrate matters such that the believer and the applier becomes the head or leader..” As we study the Word and apply it in our lives, we receive the anointing or the empowerment to be leaders- the grace of leadership. We will rise above circumstances, however adverse and not sink under them. We will hold our heads up high in hope and confidence and not let them hang in shame or bow in fear.

Leadership is a divine calling and this is the reason why most earthly leaders fall or fail. They may have all the charisma and gifting. Yet they will be embroiled in one scandal or controversy or folly in the things they do or say in the course of their leadership. Take John F. Kennedy, a charismatic leader but the last has not been written of his sexual escapades while in White House. Princess Diana who won the hearts of the English people as well as admirers world-wide for her philanthropy and for espousing good causes had a series of clandestine affairs in reaction to her husband Prince Charles’ infidelity. Even business or corporate leaders plunge in terms of esteem due to some peccadillo or other. In the Old Testament times, a great Babylonian emperor like Nebuchadnezzar had to be humbled due to his exalting himself to the level of being a god. David, a man after God’s own heart, in a moment of weakness fell to the temptation of adultery and what amounted to murder in the eyes of God. Godly leaders are assertive, not aggressive. They will not let the tail wag the dog of leadership. They are firm but humble. They take principled stands on issues and are prepared to pay the price for it.

The Lord will not only make us the head but He will give us a head of wisdom and a heart of compassion. We will develop and use the qualities of head and heart that are needed for effective leadership. One has to subject oneself constantly to the leadership of God, the Holy Spirit. He will give us the calling or the field in which we should work, the gifting or abilities needed for such a calling and the qualities that should adorn such a calling. The so called secular or worldly paradigm of leadership has only these three components- knowledge, skills and attitudes. But, God-ordained leadership consists of Beliefs- Attitudes- Skills-Knowledge or BASK. Belief is the good root that gives rise to the good shoot and the good fruit. The belief in God and trust in His character are fundamental to leadership. The perspective of earthly leaders ends with a lifetime while the perspective of godly leaders arcs over into eternity. The concern or focus of earthly leaders could be physical, economic or social well being of the followers while the focus of godly leaders is holistic. Godly leaders tap into supernatural power of their God, Creator and Redeemer by making a pact with God such that He is their best friend, constant companion, wonderful counsellor, shrewd business partner and faithful life partner. Worldly leaders check if they have the resources while godly leaders check if God is present with them.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Purpose and Remedy of Our Afflictions

UV 1437/10,000 The Purpose and Remedy of Afflictions
For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
Lamentations 3 v 33

God does not willingly afflict us. Only when His hand is compelled by the hardness of our hearts that He allows affliction, grief and pain. When He sees and knows for sure that we will not learn any other way but the hard way, He allows us to learn through pain or hardship. What parent likes to see his or her child suffer or cry in pain? The Lord is much more compassionate than any of us. But for a greater good, for the sake of our eternity, He does permit human suffering and pain.

When we face and suffer calamities, troubles, sickness and pain, we should examine our hearts, our ways and test them. We should find out where we fall short of God’s Word and try to set our hearts and our ways right with Him. When our prayers are not answered, we should ask ourselves in what way have we offended Him that the heavens seem like a bronzen cloud from which our prayers are bouncing back without an answer. In such times, we should revisit our covenant with God, our relationship and evaluate our lives against the yardstick of His Word. Job-like suffering is often sent our way to draw us to His bosom, so that we can weep on His shoulders and we will know that His comfort, love and mercies are for real and not imagined. When our hearts are cut and bruised, He applies His balm that produces healing. We emerge better than before, more perfect and stronger. He becomes our portion in these difficult times. In other words, He Himself is our medicine that we consume. Instead of drinking water or H2O, we should drink H2W2- health, happiness, wealth, wisdom. He Himself is our health, happiness, wealth and wisdom.

During times of affliction, we should not get angry or bitter with the Lord. If we wallow in our sorrow and allow it to turn into deep depression, we are allowing ourselves to be caught in the trap of the enemy of our souls. Instead, we should humble ourselves. The Lord is good to those who hope is in Him. So we should continue to hope that the Lord will restore our health, our blessings, our better days. We should not struggle with Him but yield in silence and quiet submission to Him. At the end of the day, we should know that His love is unfailing, His compassion is unstinting and endless. We should anchor ourselves in the bedrock of His Word and buoy ourselves with faith and hope. He will surely lift our grief and assuage our feelings. He will renew our lives like a snake drops its old dead skin and grows a new one. He renews His promises, His mercies every morning like fresh manna. The manna that the Jewish people gathered getting spoilt overnight is a metaphor to show that every day we need to be fed by the hand of the Lord as best He alone knows. There is a specific message the Lord wants to communicate to us each day. Each day brings its own troubles and challenges but the Lord will give us an appropriate and adequate word to handle it, to endure it and to overcome.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Triple Role-Witness- Leader- Commander

UV 1436/10,000 Triple Role : Witness, Leader, Commander
Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people

Isaiah 55 v 4

In this world we have witnesses only for negative events- crimes, accidents, misdemeanour but we do not examine witnesses who speak of the positive, the truth, the good events and happenings. A leader is a witness of the truth to the people who follow him. Jesus is given by God as a witness to people of the truth about God, eternal life and salvation. He is the Prince of peace not by virtue of the royal garments or royal residence or titles or wealth or high birth but by virtue of the witness He gave of God Almighty. Jesus is the perfect leader who asked nothing for Himself and gave Himself fully. He is given as a covenant to the people. He stands surety for God’s promises.

The greatest men who walked on earth looked for leadership to Jesus- be it the saints of the New Testament times or men like M.K. Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. The principles He taught are counter intuitive- to resist evil and overcome evil not with greater evil but by holding on to the truth. Jesus unlike them is not just a historical personality who is no more. But He remains a witness to our spirits. He leads us and commands us every day of our lives. He is given all power and authority in heaven and on earth. We too are called to be His witnesses.
Daniel wrote that the wise who lead many into righteousness are like the stars that shine forever. When we witness to the truth of Jesus, we too become leaders and commanders. As witnesses for Jesus, we speak of what we have seen, heard and experienced. As witnesses we are only expected to be truthful and we do not have to exaggerate anything. As leaders we lead many into righteousness. Knowing Jesus and emulating Him is wisdom. We drink daily at the fount of His wisdom and knowledge-the word of God. We are set free when we surrender our minds to Jesus and our thoughts to His Word. Our yoke or bondage to this world is broken. We can then lead many into freedom and righteousness. Obeying the commands of God makes us commanders to the people. Jesus has delegated all power and authority that He enjoys in Heaven and on earth to His commanders on earth. We too can command sickness to be healed, spirits to depart, peace to descend.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Power of the Spiritual Word

UV 1435/10,000 The Power of the Spiritual Word

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Isaiah 55 v 11

In life, we need to fight many battles. To fight a battle, we need an effective weapon. The word is like a sword from the mouth of God. The Word is a versatile weapon- it is a defensive weapon, a force multiplier, a radar and a rudder. It is an arrow or bullet fired from the hand of the Lord. It penetrates our hearts. It does painless surgery on our inner being and causes us to be made in His likeness or image. A spiritual word is a life-giving and life-enhancing sword. It is effective and gives a return on investment. It does not return to God empty but it will report back on its fulfilment. It will fulfil His perfect and pleasing will. A spiritual word is the root of eternal life and it will bear fruit. It is not sterile or vain. It is a situation-specific and needs-specific word or “rhema” word. It is a spiritual word for our practical and real needs. Spirituality or the essence of who God is – is embedded in His Word. We imbibe that spirituality and wisdom as we intake of His Word. The Word is comprehensive and it contains solutions for every leadership, management and life challenge. There is no situation or predicament or problem in human life that the Word does not have an apt answer for.

The phrase, “ it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” implies that there is a precise target for God’s Word. He directs His Word to the things or aspects of our lives that He in His grace chooses. It will accomplish more than what we can think, imagine or ask or in other words, “hyperbole” or more than 100 per cent. It can bear fruit a hundred fold or a hundred times what is sown. Why do some things that we pray for not prosper? It is as the Lord has not sent His word to prosper it. As we persist in faith and prayer, the Lord in His mercy and grace would send His word to it if it is His will.

Prayer is like a bow and the Word is like an arrow. We can load our faith with the specific word to meet our need and send it forth. It will hit the target and not remain static. The Word is dynamic. It will grow where it is planted and fulfil the purpose and plan of the Lord in our lives. Knowledge of the Word gives a leader the edge. It will establish a common ground between God and us. We can talk in the language of the Lord, express His thoughts that are much higher than ours. This kind of communication pleases God and builds our mutual trust and strengthens the bonds of our personal relationship with the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 5, 2015

Focus on the Locus

UV 1434/10,000 Focus on the Locus

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Isaiah 64 v 4

Waiting on the Lord implies focussing on Him. It means keeping our attention, our minds, our eyes and ears focussed on the Author and Giver of life everlasting. It means trusting in His Name and all that it means for sustenance, growth and progress in our lives. Change is inevitable but growth is God-promised. We should not look at the worldly and envy their prosperity. It would distract us from our purpose. We should wait for what God has prepared in His love and wisdom, a common plan for our salvation but an unique plan for each of our lives. Israel was not contented with the small streams and rivers that God had placed in that land but looked with envy at the mighty Euphrates and Tigris of Assyria. We should be contented with whatever God brings into our laps, our storehouses or our bank accounts. Then the Lord will cause things to happen that are not imaginable, conceivable, perceivable. As we wait for it to happen, we should believe in God’s promises in our hearts and confess with our mouths. Another inner meaning that this uni-verse holds is that our own eyes or ears may not see or hear it but it will happen in God’s time to the amazement of many.

When I read about how Sheryl Sandberg’s husband died recently- a fall on the treadmill as he was exercising and a fatal blow to his head caused instantaneous death and end of a very promising and gifted life, I realized how vulnerable each of us is , how our lives literally hang on a thin string. But as we hang on to the scarlet thread of the faithful faithless woman Rahab, a prostitute and make the confession of the thief on the cross, the Lord Jesus will enable us to scale down a wall and enter the promised land, the land of the ever living, where no one will taste death, where all God’s promises are fulfilled, which eye has not seen nor ear heard of nor has man perceived with his wildest imagination. All her life Rahab lead an unfaithful life, focussed only on scraping a living by selling her body but her one act of faith in the God of Israel based on stories she had heard of the crossing of the Red Sea, she re-focussed on God as the source of her salvation. She cast her fortunes on the side of Israel as shrewd woman that she was knew that it was the winning side. Rahab did not live to see it but she became the forebear of the greatest of Jewish Kings, King David and the Messiah Jesus Himself.

As we focus on the Lord we ought to be patient and wait. The vision or the promise will be fulfilled at God’s appointed time and it will not delay beyond that. In our impatience, we should not try to hasten things or try to make things happen by our natural efforts for that will show our lack of faith. We should be prepared to wait as long as it takes. We should not try to speed up things or we would receive the sign of Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. The word in Isaiah 8 means , “The Lord will hasten the plunder. “ We should not try to help God in our disbelief like Sarah who gave her slave Hagar to Abraham to sire an heir instead of waiting for the Lord’s word to be fulfilled. We should not take the responsibility of making God’s word happen into our own hands. We need to focus on the locus. Our attitude should be one of joy, faithfulness, thanksgiving for mercies and blessings received hitherto and increasing and not fading hope as time goes by. Waiting on the Lord implies not relying on our natural resources, talents, abilities or connections but seeking God’s face, His will and His help in and through His Word, living a life where praise, worship and prayer is co-terminous with breathing.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tongue Management

UV 1433/10,000 Tongue Management
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
James 3 v 2

Our tongues are the source of offending others just as we get offended by what others say to us. We need to examine our speech patterns and discover what are the many ways we offend others. We unintentionally hurt others. We grieve the Holy Spirit in the way we use our words. We need to bridle the tongue just as a horse is bridled with saddle and harness to enable people to ride it safely. The Word is the suitable saddle to place on our tongues. The instructions we receive on the basis of the Word from the Holy Spirit are the reins of self control and harness that enable us to move our tongues on the tracks meant for us. Our tongues are indeed like horses having power of life and death. They are much more powerful than their size indicates. The tongue is like the steering wheel of a ship. Even the largest ship can be turned to the right or left with a small turn of the wheel. No person who could not speak other than Helen Keller has achieved notable leadership. It implies that the tongue is the chief tool and weapon of a leader. How we use it makes or mar our leadership style.

Our speech should be wholesome and beneficial to the listeners. It should enhance their faith in God, their love, their wisdom and lift their spirits. It should be a source of blessing to others and not a source of curses. The tongue can bless the whole body. The Lord looks for consistency in the way we use our tongues. Is it always a sweet spring of blessing or at times does it turn into a bitter spring of cursing? What our tongue speaks become self-fulfilling prophecies in our lives and hence we should be wary of every negative word or emotion we express. Every word we speak is recorded and we need to render an account or justify every word. The Psalmist wrote, “ My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” It implies that we should write down the words the Lord gives us to speak. We must be willing to allow the Lord to use our tongues like a writer uses a pen.

Speaking more words than necessary leads us into many errors. Speaking at the wrong time gets us into all sorts of trouble in life. Speaking while in anger is destructive and harmful. Speaking the apt word at the right time is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Our words should be forged in the furnace of meditation like a furnace for purifying silver. Then it will come forth out of our mouths like well- formed golden apples. It will nourish people. It will be edifying people and glorifying God. It is impossible to tame our tongues on our own. It is best to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to take control of our tongues. A gentleman or lady is one whose tongue is controlled by the Holy Spirit. Our tongues are not forked like a serpent’s. If it speaks words of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and wisdom, it should not also speak words of hatred, sadness, strife, impatience, rudeness, evil, faithlessness, pride and folly. The two cannot mix as oil and water cannot. Just as Job made a covenant with his eyes not to lust, we should make a covenant with our tongues not to offend others, not to blame others, not to insult others, not to criticise, not to lie, not to discourage. Instead, we should resolve to be communicators of love and hope to others. People should feel glad they talked to us. Jesus is the speech therapist everyone needs for He said, “ The mouth will speak what the heart is full of”. If our heart is full of lust, our mouth will speak lustful words, if our heart is full of envy, our mouth will speak envious words, if our heart is full of prejudice, our mouth will speak words of bias, if our heart is full of anger, we will speak angry words.. If our heart is full of peace, hope and love, we will speak of peace, hope and love. Like David we need to store God’s word in our hearts so that we do not sin against Him in what we speak.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The New Temple Concept

UV 1432/10,000 The New Temple Concept
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it
Revelation 21 v 22

The abolition of the concept of a physical temple, a place where God is worshipped is the ultimate revelation. It obviates the need for man-made religion or traditions or sacrifice or rituals. The physical temple made it possible for mankind to satisfy their conscience that they had done their part time duty by God. It was only a shadow or reflection of the ultimate temple. In the physical world, we find shadows being cast backward by physical beings and objects but in the spiritual world, the shadows occur forwards till it blends into the ultimate truth and reality. When Jesus said, “ I will destroy the temple and make it again in three days,” He was saying that His body is the new temple of God. He had done away with man-made religion that had the outer form without the inner power. Jesus promised to make all things new. Today, each of us are part of that temple where God is worshipped continually. He is Immanuel or God with us. The consciousness that He is with us and in us all the time makes us the temple of God. He is El Shaddai- the consciousness of His greatness and power humbles us and gives us access to His grace. He clothes us with power. He is Ebenezer- the God who helps us understand Him and serve Him. He is the source of light and we shine in His reflected glory.

Every cell in our bodies is a brick in His temple, every organ a chamber or room, every work we do in His Name a pillar. His throne is in the sanctum sanctorum, our hearts. God the Father of lights is seated thereon and beside Him the Lamb, the Son of God –Jesus. Our mouth is the fountain of the new temple. Our hearts, the spring. A continual rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, a continual singing of Psalms and spiritual songs as well as thanksgiving are the offering of our spirits in the sanctum sanctorum. Scripture records that the new Jerusalem is made up of precious stones and precious metals as a metaphor that everything we think, speak and do in His Name is precious and sacred to the Lord. Just as the first tabernacle of Israel needed a skilled craftsman called Bezalel ( the name means overshadowed by God), we need skill, craftsmanship and wisdom to build the new temple. Beliefs, attitudes, skills and knowledge (BASK) are needed to build the temple of our lives.

We are a temple that is a work in progress. The Lord is shaping us. He knows the final shape we should take. We should submit like clay to the potter and allow Him to groom us to bloom for Him. The garden of our temple should have many fruit trees and plants that produce spices which the Spirit will transport to the very nostrils of the Lord. It is not human hands that are working on us but the divine. He will make each of us a greater and more perfect tabernacle. Our sacrifice is a gentle, humble and contrite spirit. Jesus is the cornerstone as well as architect and designer of the temple. The Lamb is our lamp that lights up every dark corner of our lives. He uses the plumbline of His Word to straighten the walls of our lives. The shadows are being cast forward towards the ultimate temple. As Paul writes, “ For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;” with the Lord, “now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” by the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dealing with Hidden Errors

UV 1431/10,000 Dealing with Hidden Errors

Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.

Job 6 v 24

God has the first word and the last word and in between He lets us do the talking. But we should still our voices and be silent in His presence every day so that He teaches us. Who is a better teacher than the Lord? He knows our beginning, our ending, the turns and twists, the ups and downs of our lives, our eternal destiny, our desires, our abilities, our weaknesses and our circumstances. Silence per se is not golden but silence and submission in the presence of the Lord is golden. We need to meditate again and again on the teachings of the Lord. Each round of meditation should help us turn the teachings into principles, the principles into practice and the practice into legacy.

It is an act of humility, reverence and obedience when we stop the ceaseless chatter from our tongues and lie still in the presence of the Lord. Scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God.” In stillness and silence, we will hear the Lord speaking to us. He will quicken our dormant understanding so that we see as clear as daylight our hidden or secret faults. To err is human, to overcome is divine. The Lord will lead us into an accurate diagnosis of what afflicts us in spirit, mind and body such that we can seek the appropriate remedy. He can read us like we can read a book. He knows our every thought. Every time something either positive or negative happens in our lives, we should ask ourselves, “ What do I learn from this? How can I carry forward the positive, replicate and multiply it? How can I deplete the negative, reduce and eradicate it?”

We are blind to our own inner faults and become aware only when the fault-lines deepen, slide heavily and cause a massive quake. Our little or big compromises can keep us from appropriating the promises of God and prevent us from fulfilling our promise to God to remain faithful. The Spirit of God will make us realize our hidden sins, unconfessed sins, secret errors and bring it into the light of His grace. He will teach us how to overcome these and to be victorious. David though he knew God personally and was a man after God’s own heart did not realize he had committed a great sin in committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah sent to the frontlines of battle so that he was killed. He married her thereafter thinking there is no blame or reproach now since her husband was no more. But the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to warn him and make him heed the voice of God and repent. David took pride that he was the king of a great number of people and he ordered a census or head count so that he would know the exact number of people he was leading. Nowadays, that would be a legitimate exercise for a national leader but it was an error of judgement for David as God saw his reliance or dependence shifting from the grace that had shifted him from being a mere shepherd to being the king. His error was his confidence in the strength of numbers. Similarly, when the Lord blesses us, our confidence should not shift to the blessings He has given us. This is the reason the Lord tests if our faith outlasts a famine of blessings. Our flesh is weak and our spirit is willing. If our spirit is willing to heed the Holy Spirit, we can identify our weaknesses before they emerge as temptations and turn into follies. Our spirit should be sensitive to the image of ourselves that we see reflected when we look into the Word of God. We need to conform to the image of God and ask God for the grace to fill the gap between our present image and His perfection.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Dimensions of Love

UV 1430/10,000 The Dimensions of Love
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

I Corinthians 13 v 4

Often one needs to explore the many opposites of a word in order to understand and grasp its full meaning and its nuances. The trained and logical mind of St Paul under the control of the Holy Spirit does exactly this in the famous Chapter 13 of the first epistle to the church at Corinth. Love is the perfection and consummation of our faith while hope is a by-product of faith. Love is not envy. It does not prosper through strife or contention. It is goodwill or finding pleasure in the rise, blessing and prosperity of others. It is not pride or arrogance or conceit. It is laying down our ego. It is considering others better than us. It is looking at the interests of others before or along with our own. It is humility or realizing how much one owes to others and recognizing one’s smallness in comparison with the glory or perfection of God.

Love is certainly not hatred. It is not selfishness. It is not greed. It is a willingness to share what is good, beneficial and wholesome with others. It is not rudeness or harshness or impoliteness. It is kindness and compassion not pity. It is empathy and not mere sympathy. It is thankfulness or gratitude to God and man. It is not harbouring anger, hatred or a grudge for a real or imagined wrong done to us but it is forgiveness or releasing people from the penalty of their faults, mistakes and misdeeds. It is a refusal to be bitter and a determination to be better despite whatever life throws at you.

Love is not carnal lust. It is neither expressed in hypocrisy or partiality or bias. Love is not fickle or temperamental or moody. It is consistent. Love is patient and tolerant. Such manner of love was manifested in all its dimensions of what it is not and what it is in the life and work of Jesus on earth and His continuing ministry to us seated at the right hand of God Almighty, the Father of love. When Jesus asked us to be the salt and light, the salt stands for the negatives or what is “non-love” that we should avoid, abhor and uproot from our hearts and minds while light stands for the positive dimensions of love that we should be. Salt is made up of two poisons- sodium and chlorine that counteract each other and it is made useful and necessary for our very existence and metabolism. Love implies we should neutralise the poisons that exist in each of us, in our nature, conduct and character.

Prateep V Philip